In an annual tradition, the Optimist Club of Pueblo honors middle school teenagers who have overcome challenges and adversity to turn their lives around "180 degrees" in behavior and school endeavors.
This year, Pueblo of Academy of Arts Phoenix Aubrey Thiele and Jeremiah Barela received the "Teen 180" award.
According to PAA officials, Aubrey has made great strides in personal and academic progress this year, with Jeremiah's academic growth enabling him to surpass 2 to 3 grade levels in his ELA scores and comprehension.
For earning the award, the Optimist Club treated Aubrey and Jeremiah to a lunch and provided each with a plaque and a framed copy of the Optimist's creed.
Additionally, the Optimist Club asked Aubrey and Jeremiah to select a charity to receive a $150 donation in their name. The Phoenix selected CASA of Pueblo, which recruits specially trained community citizens to advocate for abused and neglected children in court.